Picture by CJ Isherwood/Flickr CC
In a beautiful place like Fiji where you completely relax to the calming waves and the beautiful sunsets, it’s easy to let your guard down and forget that there can be scams there, too. One scam which catches tourists completely off guard happens with an invitation to a Fiji ceremony. Many people have had encounters where a stranger came up to them on the street and was very friendly to them. They were then invited to a special Fiji ceremony by this stranger. Once they accepted the invitation, they were then taken to a remote location and mugged. Others were taken to an actual ceremony, but then were presented with a huge bill at the end or were asked to buy expensive items. If you want to go to a ceremony in Fiji, either book one through a travel agent or through your hotel. Never book one through a stranger on the street.
Also you will meet a lot of people selling masks and swords on the street. Once you pay for it, they will tell you they will deliver it to your hotel, but, of course, you will never receive it. Never buy an item that you don’t receive right away from a person on the street. Also, be careful about buying seashells and wood carvings. Many of the shells are considered endangered and will be confiscated by customs. If you are going to Australia afterwards, know that it is forbidden to bring beach material or wood into Australia and that it will be taken from you.
There are also a lot of pickpockets on the local buses, so always keep your belongings in a safe place, and don’t let distractions take your attention away from them. Another thing to watch out for when out at the markets and other touristy areas, is that you will sometimes have a person latch onto you and show you around. They will then ask you for money for acting as a guide. If this happens to you, it is best to tell them from the beginning that you prefer to be alone.